Monday, May 31, 2010

Science FACTion: Scientists Splice Together Goat and Spider Genes... Seriously

As we have previously discussed on this blog, spider silk is really fascinating stuff. Peter Parker was a head of the curve by a few decades with his web-slinging inventions, but we know that modern day scientists have been researching on how to recreate the material for commercial use. Spider Silk, which has greater prehensile strength than steel, is extremely difficult to synthesize, so scientist are also attempting to research ways to harvest the material naturally.

Evidently these so called "scientists" have reasoned that the best way to go about this is to splice in spidersilk making genes in with goats and their milk producing genes. Scientists believe that they can then extract the material from the goat's milk after lactation:

With his team of researchers, Randy Lewis, a professor of molecular biology at the University of Wyoming developed a way splice the spider’s silk-making genes into goats, so the protein can be harvested from their milk. “When the goats have kids, and they start lactating, we collect the milk, and we can purify that spider silk protein in much, much higher quantities,” Lewis tells the Science Nation, a publication of the National Science Foundation, which helped fund the research.
The silk-making protein can be harvested from the milk of the transgenic goats in much higher quantities.
Because of the vagaries of the genetic lottery, not all the goats wind up with the spider gene. Of the seven kids (three sets of twins and one single) born in February, only three are would-be web-slingers.
Of course, any endeavor that involves animals or genetic engineering is bound to find itself knee-deep in an ethical quagmire, but Lewis insists that the transgenic goats are no different in health, appearance, or behavior “In lots of ways, these goats are a lot more pampered because they are very valuable,” he says.
I'm sure NOTHING could ever go wrong with giving goats spider genes...

SPIDER-GOAT! SPIDER-GOAT! Does whatever a Spider can!

catch a video from Science Nation after the jump:

1 betches:

Kuhnsy said...

I feel like we already have a goat-spider in the common collective consciousness and it is named Shelob.

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